By Hank Tester

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — By mid-afternoon on the Thanksgiving holiday, the Dolphin Mall and surrounding area began to see the surge of shoppers, out in full force ahead of Black Friday.

(Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

Some were on scouting missions.

“Hopefully I can get some ideas today and I can start buying for everyone,” said Andres Perez.

Sixty-nine percent of U.S. buyers surveyed by the National Retail Foundation said they’re planning or thinking about buying big over the Black Friday weekend.

“I want to buy my mom and dad a watch or something, but I got to wait for Black Friday itself,” said Ray Cacher. “Got to wait for the big day.”

For big deals and big savings, retailers say clothing, tv’s, toys, laptops and smartphones are at the top of the list.

Out-of-town visitors, most from South America and the Caribbean, represent a unique group that make Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday shopping in South Florida much different compared to other areas of the country. While Thanksgiving isn’t a holiday they typically celebrate, traveling overseas for the deals is as much a time-honored tradition.

“We do a lot of advertising and promotions abroad so they find out when the sales are going to be happening,” said Madelyn Bello Calver.

Buying suitcases and stuffing them with Christmas gifts, it’s the type of economic boost that retailers outside of South Florida don’t see.

According to NRF, an estimated 69 percent of Americans, about 164 million people, plan to shop during Thanksgiving weekend. They predict that’ll lead to about a $482 billion boost to the economy.